If there’s one bloom that’s symbolic of Japan, it’s undoubtedly the sakura, or cherry blossom.
Every spring, when the trees across the island nation erupt in fluffy pink or white blossoms, the country joyfully launches into the annual hanami, or “flower viewing” season. Families and groups of friends gather in parks to picnic under the wind-scattered blossoms, which herald the welcome start of spring after a long winter.
Hanami, or flower watching, dates back to Emperor Saga’s reign in the 8th century where celebrations were held within the imperial gardens to tribute the flower’s ephemeral beauty. Every spring in Japan, Hanami is spent picnicing underneath these beloved trees with loved ones.
A blissful reminder of those spring days spent underneath the flush of cherry blossoms – our Sakura Bliss is a rare herbal infusion made from those wild leaves of Japanese cherry trees. Carefully harvested by hand, the leaves are processed in the style of oolong. Partially oxidized, rolled and pan-fried, the result is a fragrant infusion with distinctive notes of sweet cherry and almond that linger on your palate.
Springtime cherry blossoms are reminiscent of the Japanese notion of mono no aware – a sensitivity to the transience of life.
“Fine weather, isn’t it?” the protagonists of Japanese screenwriter Yasujirō Ozu would wistfully affirm to one’s self to realize a point past a turn. With this, creating a sense of mono no aware – a Japanese ideation of the awareness of impermanence, or better understood as the “ahhh-ness” of passing things. Carried in the essence of Japanese culture it has been an imperative in their artistic practice and its influence deepset throughout history. Inspired by this sensibility, we have highlighted a selection of Japanese teas and accessories to acquaint you with their unique ways.
But hanami is more than just a chance to picnic. Because the luscious blossoms fade and dissipate in the wind almost as quickly as they appear—hanami season lasts barely a week—the Japanese revere the sakura as a wistful symbol of the transient beauty of life.
Given how important the cherry tree is in Japan, it’s no wonder that our Sakura Bliss tisane is such a precious delicacy. This rare herbal infusion is made from the leaves of cherry trees, which are so in demand in their home country that few make it outside Japan’s borders. The leaves for Sakura Bliss are harvested by hand, gently tied into bundles and packed for transport. Once arriving at the production facility a few hours away, the leaves are carefully processed like an oolong tea, meaning they’re left to partially oxidize in bamboo baskets and then pan-fired at high temperatures, which halts the oxidation process.
The result is a richly fragrant infusion with distinctive notes of cherry and almond, with a fruity-sweet flavor that lingers on the palate. Every sip will recall the fleeting beauty of pink petals floating in the breeze—whatever the season.
Mochi: Rodrigo Verschae. All other images courtesy of our Sakura Bliss provider in Japan.SAKURA BLISS N°808 These wild cherry leaves brew into a fruity-sweet infusion with fragrant notes of cherry and almond.